New Zealand Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
New Zealand Skeptics

NZ Skeptics Conference 2012

Here's what you missed out on at the 2012 Conference. See you in Wellington for the 2013 conference.

Friday 31 August-Sunday 2 September
Otago University, Dunedin

Friday will open with the usual cheerful evening get-together, this time at Otago Museum's Hutton Gallery. The Museum will open up two galleries for us to visit: Southern Land, Southern People and the Nature Gallery. The Saturday and Sunday lectures will be in the Archway 3 Theatre at the University of Otago.

The conference sessions, as always, will cover a large field of fascinating issues, with lots of entertaining activities and though-provoking ideas.

Programme Summary and Speakers

Friday, 31 st August

6.30pm Registration & Hutton Theatre Function
Otago Museum

Saturday, 1 st September: Lecture Theatre Archway 3

8.30am Doors open
9am Jean S Fleming
As a Professor of Science Communication, Jean Fleming has had a lot of experience in the area of communicating controversial issues to non-scientists, and will communicate about that at the conference.
9.50am David Winter
David Winter can tell us what every skeptic ought to know about evolution, and some of the problems that occur in the stock evolution/creation "debate".
10:40am Morning Tea
11 am Professor Richard Walter
New Zealand may often be regarded as a "young" country, but that hasn't stopped a range of alternative archaeology being developed. Professor Richard Walter will tell us about history with a different bent.

12-1.15 Midday Lunch

1 .20pm Nick Barbalich
Nick Barblich takes a look at chronic disease, and how it trends from the medical to the mumbo-jumbo.

2.20pm Afternoon Tea
2.40pm Michael Edmonds - Workshop
Dr Michael Edmonds has been amusing himself making a number of successful complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority. The response from some of the advertisers has ranged from calm to venomous to being completely bewildered. Michael will talk about how to take your favourite woo-merchant to task.

7pm Dinner: Otago University Staff Club
Annual Dinner entertainmnt comes courtesy of Andrew Scott -- Scicomm student, stand-up comedian, and presenter of the "Bang!" show.

Sunday, 2nd September: Lecture Theatre Archway 3

8.30am Doors open @ Lecture Theatre Archway 3
9am Mark Ottley
Public policy and practice can take us from wellbeing to woo in fairly short order. Dr Mark Ottley says a healthy dose of skepticism assists avoidance of common pitfalls that arise pursuing wellbeing, whether for individuals or society.
9.50am David Veart
David Veart, author of "First Catch Your Weka", takes us on a tour of 20th century food fads.
10.40am Morning tea
11 am Ewan Fordyce
Ewan has studied New Zealand fossil vertebrates, especially dolphins, whales and penguins, and this in turn prompted some North Otago locals to establish Vanished World Inc. - a visitor centre and field sites to introduce fossils and geology to the public.
11 .50am Colin Gavaghan
Leading international scholar in medical law and ethics Associate Professor Colin Gavaghan will take a look at the thorny issues of patients who go to doctors demading quack treatments, and dodgy claims in peer-reviewed journals.
1 2:40pm Closing
1 pm Skeptics AGM, all members welcome.

The Annual Dinner, at the University Staff Club, will see the announcement of the year's Bent Spoon for gullible public statements, as well as the Bravo Awards for those in the public eye who contributed some critical thought to national debate.

Keep an eye on this page for more details as we develop the programme and other activities. Do please let others know about this entertaining and educational gathering -- pass the word, send the link or beam the message telepathically, whatever works for you. (If you can work the last option, we'd like to know about it...)

The conference welcomes all those with an open mind; only the Sunday morning AGM discussions are restricted to subscribing members.

ACCOMMODATION: this year's semester timing means we are not able to arrange hall accommodation for conference attendees. There are a variety pf providers around the university, ranging from hotels and motels to backpackers. If members wish to stay at Cargills Hotel (678 George Street, 03 77- 7983), cite the NZ Skeptics for a discount rate of $111pp. We recommend you contact them early. Search on Temporary Accommodation, University of Otago, New Zealand to readily find accommodation close to the conference venues.

If you have any suggestions for speakers or topics you think appropriate to the NZ Skeptics conference, please contact us.